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Messages - Maribeth

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1
Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Perfectionism
« on: Oct 15, 2020, 06:36 pm »
There's a really relevant article on HowlRound about this. "Hold, Please - Addressing Urgency and Other White Supremacist Standards In Stage Management." I particularly like the viewpoint of this paragraph,
Quote
One antidote to this mindset is focusing on completion, not competition—a mantra passed down by stage manager Deb Acquavella. Each member of the stage management team is working to achieve the same goal of a safe and smooth production. Having multiple points of view and avenues to turn to for information doesn’t reduce this goal but rather expands it. If an ASM knows an answer right off the bat, why wait for the PSM to dredge up the information just because they’re the designated one voice? We need to stop viewing the ASM as working below the PSM and instead put value on each person’s unique duties and expertise. We then become a collaborative team where everyone is valued for their contribution, rather than bolstering egos.

I struggle with delegating sometimes, as someone who often worked as a one-person SM team. I'm used to doing things myself and sometimes it's hard to let things go. One thing I've found helpful is to think of the stage management team as a whole unit, rather than the SM/PSM as one person, and all the ASMs as extensions of them. An ASM and a PSM are doing different jobs, and likely have different skillsets. Your team will accomplish a lot more as a whole if everyone is contributing, rather than the PSM taking on all important tasks.

It's worth considering the idea of what doing things "right" means. Is it "right" because that is how you would do it? Or does it need to be a certain way for a particular reason? If something has to be a particular way for a certain reason, like fitting requests have to use XYZ format because that's what the costume shop requires, that's one thing. But if an ASM makes their prop list in landscape orientation instead of portrait, maybe that's an individual preference that is not a problem- even if it's not how you would do it.

You can also experiment with laying out some expectations clearly in advance. For example, if you delegate prop tracking duties to an ASM, it's reasonable to ask for a current copy of the props preset at certain intervals (weekly, whenever there's a new copy, at the beginning of tech, etc). It gives you the chance to assess how things are going and make adjustments if needed.

Educational/college theater is supposed to be a place to learn, so it's inevitable that people are going to make mistakes. (That's not limited to college, but it's certainly true there.) So it's worth considering what happens when mistakes are made. How do you address it? What steps do you implement to prevent it from recurring? I can tell you a lot of mistakes that I've made (both in and out of college) and I wouldn't have grown as a stage manager (and as a person) if I hadn't been allowed to make them.

It's great to have a system for checking in with your team, like a daily touch-base at the top or end of the day, which can really help in terms of managing everyone's workload, and can also provide a forum for making adjustments if someone needs help. Sitting down for longer meetings before major events like first rehearsal, move to stage, etc can be really helpful for setting expectations for the next stage of the process and keeping the team on the same page.

2
Try some different areas and see what you like! One of the best ways to learn stage management is through experience. Can you see if there are any crew positions available for upcoming shows at your school? I realize things might be a little different in the current, mostly-digital time we live in, but if your school has open crew positions, running crew is a great way to see stage managers in action. Being an ASM is also a great way to learn stage management, and often in an educational setting you might get paired with a stage management team that has experience they can share with you.

You might also find that there's an area of theater that has some overlap with engineering. (Scenic design? Lighting technician?) Having experience in a wide variety of theatrical disciplines can be a real benefit to a stage manager's toolkit, as it gives you a shared knowledge of what other departments do and what language they use to do it. The more you know about what other people do, the better prepared you are to work and collaborate with them.

3
Introductions / Re: I've finally joined!!
« on: Sep 12, 2020, 09:21 am »
Hi and welcome!

4
Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Online readings
« on: Aug 19, 2020, 11:31 am »
USITT hosted a series of webinars about producing online performances...If you are a member, you can look it up in their online catalog of content. It was called Lessons Learned, and was a series of 3 discussions about how 2 different companies produced online shows.

(There are tons of informational videos available to members there if you're looking for something to do!)

TYA/USA is offering a free-to-all webinar next Monday called "Creating Immersive Theater for Families Online: Behind the Scenes of THE WIZARDS OF OAKWOOD DRIVE with La Jolla Playhouse". You can register on their website for the link.

5
Introductions / Re: Stage Managing Here I Come !!!!! :D
« on: Aug 17, 2020, 04:42 pm »
Welcome, Paola! Glad to have you on the boards. Love the enthusiam!

6
Introductions / Re: Washington Stage Manager!
« on: Aug 17, 2020, 04:42 pm »
Welcome, Paige! We'd love to hear about your experience at KCACTF - there are a couple of threads about it over on the College and Graduate Studies board.

Rough business with the sewage smell! A theater that I worked at years ago had this same problem - when the sewers dried out in the winter months, they became very pungent. It became part of the preshow to pour water down all of the basement drains. Glad you guys figured out a solution!

7
Introductions / Re: Hello!
« on: Aug 17, 2020, 04:33 pm »
Hi and welcome, Collette! It's a tough time for stage managers (and teachers!). I'd be really interested to hear about your experiences. Any favorite productions that you've worked on?

8
The Green Room / Free online courses!
« on: Apr 13, 2020, 03:29 pm »
So many universities are offering free online courses right now! There's a list here of courses offered by ivy league universities- there are some really interesting-looking "intro to opera" courses that might appeal to stage managers. There's also a section on "personal development" courses, including one on communications skills.

Hoping this might be interesting/useful for folks looking for things to do in the unexpected downtime....

9
Employment / Re: COVID-19 resources
« on: Mar 24, 2020, 06:02 pm »
ACTORS' EQUITY LAUNCHES CURTAIN UP FUND TO GET MEMBERS ON THEIR FEET FINANCIALLY; ISSUES CHALLENGE GRANT TO THE ACTORS FUND

"Actors' Equity Association, the national labor union representing professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has announced the creation of the Actors' Equity Curtain Up Fund, and issued a grant to The Actors Fund to provide emergency support for members at risk due to work cancellations resulting from COVID-19. Actors' Equity is contributing $500,000 to launch the fund and will match another $250,000 of contributions from other donors, dollar for dollar."

10
Employment / COVID-19 resources
« on: Mar 22, 2020, 04:27 pm »
Starting a thread for resources available to artists, related to the COVID-19 crisis.

TheatreWashington is extending their "Taking Care of Our Own" emergency fund for theater artists to include those impacted financially by the COVID-19 health crisis. They are offering $500 grants to impacted artists- applications are available on their website. You can also donate to the fund on their webpage.

Information about applying for unemployment in DC, MD & VA.

List of resources for people in the Arts.

Remote friendly work opportunities, being continually updated.

11
Employment / Re: Needing a cover for 2 shows
« on: Mar 03, 2020, 07:21 pm »
You might also find out that the theater is willing to pay or provide the sub themselves....not always the case, but it does happen. As has been mentioned, they may have someone they prefer to call in, but it never hurts to have a name in your back pocket of someone you know is available.

12
The Green Room / The Year of the Stage Manager
« on: Jan 30, 2020, 09:50 pm »
For those on Instagram, I highly recommend following "sminsta2020" - it's an account that has a different stage manager take over every day and gives a look into their work and lives. So many great stage managers featured, including a number of SMNetwork members!

It seems that there's a very active group on Facebook for the Year of the Stage Manager 2020 as well. :)

13
Introductions / Re: Good Morning SM Network!
« on: Jan 26, 2020, 07:05 pm »
Welcome, Maddie!

14
Introductions / Re: Hi, Student SM
« on: Jan 26, 2020, 07:04 pm »
Hi and welcome!

15
Introductions / Re: A short intro from a new member!
« on: Jan 26, 2020, 07:04 pm »
Welcome aboard, Casey!

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